Meet The Johnston Family

The Johnston FamilyKate Johnston is an MPA Class of 1998 alum. Now, her son Emmett is a ninth grader at MPA.

What do you love about MPA?
MPA has a special energy that is warm and welcoming. It is an inclusive community that truly cultivates joy and a love of learning. I love that MPA prioritizes music and art. I also love that MPA encourages curiosity and creativity and is committed to teaching the whole child. I love the small class sizes and amazing teachers that make it a school where each child is truly seen, heard, and valued. MPA teachers and staff build strong relationships with students and encourage them to shine their unique light.

What initially attracted you to MPA?
I graduated from MPA and have always been grateful for the amazing education I received. When my husband and I were considering a school change for our oldest son, we decided to look at MPA. We wanted small class sizes and a school that was inclusive and committed to growth and progress. When we visited the school, I was happy to see that MPA continued to grow and change in many ways while staying committed to its mission and values. The energy was wonderful, and it felt like a place that could be an incredible partner for us as we raise our boys. Our son is in his second year at MPA, and we feel blessed to have him there. Read More

Meet The Tanwongsval Family

Tanwongsval FamilyWhat’s the best thing about being part of the MPA community?
A bit of context–our family is an international nomad and our kids have studied in international schools in Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and China. What we seek in a school is positive diversity (not just cultural but viewpoints), appropriately challenging academics, a small teacher-to-student ratio, a small and tight-knitted community, and warm and welcoming educators and administrators. MPA ticked all the boxes and can easily rival any top international schools we’ve experienced throughout our moves.

What is your favorite MPA tradition or event?
We love the orchestra. Our daughter is not much of a musician, but she enjoys the supportive environment and the opportunity to perform with her friends.

Complete this sentence, “MPA teaches my child…
to be caring, curious, and courageous (3C’s). Read More

Meet The Peterson Family

The Peterson FamilyMiddle School math teacher Chris Peterson has been a teacher at MPA for eight years, but became a parent to an MPA Panther himself this school year!

What’s the best thing about being part of the MPA community?
The people. It is a great feeling coming to a school where I know I have colleagues I can count on, families who are involved, and students who are engaged with their academics.

What is your favorite MPA tradition or event?
There are a lot to choose from, but I really enjoy going on the fifth and sixth grade canoeing trip.

In what ways has MPA prepared your child for life in the 21st century? 
From an early age, teachers work with students to be independent and think for themselves. Students have to learn how to work independently and with other students of different ability levels and personality types.

Complete this sentence:
MPA teaches my child: How to be independent, work with their peers while also learning, and how to be respectful to one another.

What advice do you have for another family considering MPA?
MPA accepts students for who they are and works with them where they are at. If you want a school that focuses on the whole child, choose MPA.

Meet The McBroom Family

The McBroom FamilyThe McBroom Family from Oakdale has been at MPA for three years. They have a fourth grader and a sixth grader.

What do you love about MPA?
We love the connectedness, the openness of the community, and the personal attention for our children. It seems the school really knows them as individuals.

What initially attracted you to MPA? 
We were looking for a closer connection to the school, rather than our children being another number. We want to give them the best experience we can.

If your child has attended another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
They are known as individuals with different characteristics, interests, and abilities.

What would you tell another family considering MPA?
It may be the best choice we’ve made for our children.

In what ways has MPA prepared your child for life in the 21st century? What are the key attributes, skills, and content that you find most valuable?
The world does not run on math and science alone. Understanding world issues, and how to connect to others with empathy and understanding will hopefully lead to a more fulfilling life.

Meet The Goetzke Family

The Goetzke FamilyPeyton, now in second grade, started school at MPA in 2020 for her Kindergarten year. Ashley has worked at MPA since 2016.

What do you love about MPA?
We love MPA for many reasons, but the one that rises to the top would be the encouraging environment for Peyton. It’s been amazing how fast her teachers get to know the ins and outs of how her little mind works. The care and compassion they show to her from day one is truly special.

How does MPA inspire students who dream big and do right?
The character development that happens at MPA is so impactful. Students are not only inspired to dream big and do right, they also see it happening around them on campus. They witness this with their peers, teachers, and the older students they see in the hallway. This is the beauty of a PreK-12 campus. Read More

Meet The Myeroff Family

The Myeroff FamilyThe Myeroff Family from Lake Elmo just began their second school year at MPA with their Kindergarten and PreK students.

What initially attracted you to MPA? 
When we started our school search, we weren’t looking at private school for private schools’ sake. In fact, we were leaning more towards public schools until we started learning more about MPA. We wanted a school that would help grow our kids’ confidence while they learned, and a community that believed school was not just a place to learn but a place to grow into a kind, compassionate member of society. We wanted a community that valued diversity where no students got or felt lost in the shuffle. We wanted a community for not just our kids, but also for us as a family. We were blown away that we found all of that and SO much more at MPA! Read More

Meet The Soto Álvarez Family

Soto Alvarez FamilyMeet the Soto Álvarez family! Current parents Diana and Michael are joined by their MPA kindergartener, Lucas, to share their MPA story.

What do you love about MPA?
Lucas: I have a lot of friends. And on the school’s birthday, we got cupcakes! I like my French class. I also like my classroom because that’s where my friends are.

Diana & Michael: Everyone is so welcoming. And it is clear that the programs and offerings are incredibly well thought out.

What initially attracted you to MPA? Do your same needs/desires hold true today?
Lucas: My mommy and daddy picked it, but it was a good decision.

Diana & Michael: We wanted a school that was excellent academically, but that also took a holistic approach to the student. We value that MPA cultivates active community members and social change agents. We like how design thinking has been interwoven throughout the school. And we were blown away by the quality of the ceramics projects on display! Over the past several months we have seen Lucas growing and learning in a range of ways, including how to use his “emotional toolbox” to handle difficult situations. Read More

MPA Parents Association Events & Updates

Parents Connect

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week
The school year is flying by and the second round of conferences is coming up for Lower School and Middle School. This coincides with the second Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week, January 31-February 4 for all of MPA. Please consider donating a beverage or snack. Teachers have reported increased thirst and cravings during conference week and we can help! Contact Tara Lafferty with questions, or 201-563-4622. Thank you from Tara, Shari and the Parents Association!

Donations can be dropped off at PA Carts located inside the Lower School, Middle School or Upper School Entrances. Please adhere to MPA Peanut/Tree Nut Awareness for Beverages and Snacks. No peanuts or tree nuts please. Refer to the MPA Food Allergy Guidelines for more information.

For snack ideas, please click here
To sign up, please click here

January Walks with Dogs
Due to doggie health—or lack thereof—we will be meeting in the Lower School parking lot at Michelle Mick’s black suburban. We’ll start right after drop off for a little brisk walk around the MPA grounds to get a little exercise, Friday, January 28 around 8 AM. We look forward to seeing everyone and trying to spot the sounds of spring, optimistic as that may be!

SnoDaze All-School Nature Walk, Dodge Nature Center, February 22, 3:45-5:45 PM,
Let’s kick off the week of SnoDaze, and celebrate the joy of winter in Minnesota! Bundle up the family and meet at Dodge Nature Center after school on February 22. Their naturalist will take MPA Families on a winter exploration of the grounds. We will end with some free time to gather around the bonfire to chat, as well as kick-sled across the frozen ponds. This is an all-school event, so if your students are busy with other activities, parents are welcome to come and enjoy winter’s splendor without kids in tow. RSVP to Staci Banks,

Attention Middle School Panthers and Parents
The annual Middle School Café is going tubular this year! Stay tuned and get excited. While we can’t unveil all the details just yet (sorry!), we can say, SAVE THE DATE, Friday, February 25 from 2:30-5:30 PM.

Keep the Spring Break Vibes Alive, March 25th, 1:15-2:15 PM, Yogafresh
Save the date for some self-care and community connection! In March, Yogafresh, will offer a tailored class experience for MPA parents that weaves gentle movement, breathing and meditation into the practice with some additional tools and resources to tap into when things feel stressful at home (or work). There will be more details on this event as we get closer to March, as things are COVID-situation dependent.

Meet The Ruane Family

The Ruane FamilyHow many years have you been part of the MPA community?
Just this one!

What do you love about MPA?
We love how well the faculty and staff have truly gotten to know our children in just a few short months. The small class size has been a wonderful fit for all of our children. Both of our kids in the Lower School feel seen, known, and loved in their classrooms. Their teachers have been able to design goals and opportunities around their specific needs. Our Middle Schooler has been given the opportunity to explore a plethora of new opportunities this year, which has been wonderful. Overall, we just feel like our kids are in very good hands when we drop them off everyday!

What initially attracted you to MPA? 
We love that MPA encourages our children to develop and explore multiple interests simultaneously. The strong triad of an education rich in academics, arts, and athletics really drew us towards MPA. Read More

Meet The Gruen Family

The Gruen FamilyThe Gruen Family lives in White Bear Lake, MN. Christine Gruen was an MPA student for four years, and this is her first year as an MPA parent! Max is in tenth grade and Samantha is in eighth.

What do you love about MPA?
I love that the teachers take the time to get to know students and genuinely care about their success and well being. I love that my children feel comfortable approaching their teachers if they ever need help or guidance. I love that MPA is a small family-type community. I love that my children are experiencing amazing learning opportunities that can be used in everyday life. I love seeing my children happy!!

What initially attracted you to MPA?
We had recently relocated to MPA from California. I was attracted to the warm welcome we received by both faculty and students, and the sense of acceptance my children received as transfer students.

How are your children encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
My children are inspired by their teachers to become the best versions of themselves, whatever that may be. They are always encouraged and challenged. Read More